Mrs N B Gumede of Esizibeni Secondary School in the Free State has beaten 120 other educators from around South Africa to be named Super Teacher of the Year 2008 by the Internet Service Providers' Association of SA (ISPA) and UniForum SA.
Internet industry players announced at a dinner in Fourways that Mrs Gumede had best imparted her newly-acquired IT knowledge to her learners and the local community after participating in ISPA's nationwide teacher training programme.
UniForum SA's support, through its COZA Cares project, has seen more than 1 600 computers donated and more than 1 500 educators trained at more than 80 disadvantaged and rural schools since December 2001. COZA Cares is the social development arm of UniForum SA promoting the use of IT in underprivileged communities.
There were 15 finalists were in the running and this year was the Free State's turn to scoop the award as Mrs Gumede was declared the winner. The two runners-up were Ms E Mamabolo from Toronto Primary School in Limpopo and Ms J Le Roux from Coffee Bay Christian School in the Eastern Cape.
"I am humbled by this award and feel a great sense of achievement. As educators, it is our responsibility to set an example for the communities in which we live. I feel even more confident now in my role," says Mrs Gumede.
"Our industry is facing a severe shortage of skilled professionals which is both surprising and a tremendous pity as IT is an attractive career option," says Theo Kramer, chairman of UniForum SA.
"Intervention in the form of ISPA's teacher training programme stimulates and encourages educators to take advantage of the opportunity to further boost their skills and build rewarding careers," adds Kramer.
Educators were trained on OpenOffice.org 2 by SETA (Sector Education & Training Authority) accredited facilitators provided by Avuxeni Computer Academy while NetDay Association was responsible for the installation of computers and educational content at the schools targeted for training.
Educators received certificates as acknowledgement of their achievement at the awards function. The credits obtained from the training will count towards a National Certificate in IT.